Toshiba has introduced a new line of computers that, in keeping with Windows 8’s emphasis on touch, offers an array of products with displays that can be poked and pinched.
Toshiba began taking pre-orders for the new systems Wednesday, and will be selling them to the public from its online store on Oct. 26, when Windows 8 debuts.
While all the new Toshiba laptops don’t have a touch display, they do have large touchpads that support touchscreen gestures, so many of the gesture tasks performed on a touchscreen can be performed on the touchpad.
In addition, Toshiba is addressing the absence of a start menu in Windows 8 with a utility program preinstalled on all models, Toshiba Desktop Assist. The software gives users quick access to their programs, the Windows control panel and their files and folders, much as the start menu does in Windows 7.
Toshiba is also including three Windows 8 “tile” apps. Toshiba Central provides one-click access to a model’s user guide, support information, how-to videos and such. Toshiba Book Place is an e-book reader and marketplace for purchasing titles. Toshiba News Place is a graphical news aggregator.
Toshiba’s Windows 8 lineup includes:
Satellite S800 series. These all-purpose laptops are designed for both work and play. They can be configured with either a third-generation Intel Core processor or AMD A-Series Accelerated Processing Unit. Options include AMD Radeon HD 7570M graphics in Blu-ray disc player. Units are offered with a 15.6-inch display ($699.99) and a 17.3-inch model ($749.99).
Satellite S955. This model contains the power and options of units in the 800 series but is less than an inch thick. With a 15.6-inch display, the laptop sells for $649.99.
Qosmio X875. Designed for gamers, this model sports a third-generation Intel Core i7 processor, with support for 32GB of RAM, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670M graphics with 3GB of GDDR5 discrete graphics memory. Its 17.3-inch display supports 1080p HD and is 3D ready, with support for NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 Kit with Lightboost. The Qosmio starts at $1,479.99.
Satellite P800 series. Third-generation Intel Core processors with Intel Rapid Start technology and support for up to 8GB of memory are part of this model’s package. The units are available with hard drives up to 750GB, and they include harman/kardon stereo speakers with Slipstream port technology. They also support Intel Wireless Display, which allows the laptop’s screen to be shared wirelessly with a big-screen TV. Two screen sizes are available: 15.6 inches ($799.99) and 17.3 inches ($929.99). In addition, there’s a 14-inch touchscreen model available for $929.99.
Satellite L800 series. These units can be configured with an Intel Core i3 or i5 processor, as well as an AMD A-Series APU. The hard drives max out at 640GB. Units are offered with display sizes of 15.6 inches ($579.09) and 17.3 inches ($629.99). In addition, a thinner model, the L950, with a 15.6-inch display, is available for $579.99.
Satellite C800. This is Toshiba’s budget line. They’re offered with Intel Core i3 processors or AMD E-Series and A-Series APUs, with support for up to 8GB of RAM and hard drives with up to 750GB of storage. Models are offered with a 15.6-inch display ($379.99) and 17.3-inch display ($499).
Ultrabooks. Toshiba’s Ultrabook models include the U925t, a hybrid laptop-tablet with a 12.5-inch touchscreen ($1,149.99); a 14-inch model, the U945 ($699.99); and a 14.4-inch model with a wide display, the U845W ($1,049.99).
All-in-one desktops. Toshiba is also offering two all-in-one desktop models, the 21.5-inch LX815 ($699.99) and the 23-inch LX835 ($849.99). Both models support 1080p HD, but touchscreen support is optional.
John Mello writes on technology and cyber security for a number of online publications and is former managing editor of the Boston Business Journal and Boston Phoenix. Disclosure: He also writes for Hewlett-Packad's marketing website TechBeacon.